Saturday, December 10, 2016

'Whistleblower' launches bullying claim against Newcastle Anglican diocese

From The Guardian (Australia)

The business manager of the Newcastle Anglican Diocese has launched legal action against the church with the employment watchdog, alleging he has been ostracised and bullied because of his stand for victims of child sexual abuse.

John Cleary says he has filed a case with the Fair Work Commission against the church claiming he was marginalised because of his advocacy for victims of child sexual abuse inside the church.

Cleary has been an outspoken supporter for victims of abuse in the church, and has spoken out in favour of reforms.

The Newcastle Herald reported that his statement said he had been marginalised and bullied: “I have been punished by the church for being a ‘whistleblower’, and for my actions in trying to get the best outcome for survivors.”

More here-

Hundreds of churches offer sanctuary from deportation

From Massachusetts-

Hundreds of houses of worship are offering sanctuary to people who could face deportation if President-elect Donald Trump follows through on his campaign pledge to remove millions of immigrants living in the country illegally.

To some churches, sanctuary means spiritual support or legal assistance to fight deportation. Others promise or already are extending physical sanctuary by housing immigrants.

In Brockton, a poor city of about 95,000 people south of Boston, four churches have pledged to take in immigrants fearful of being deported.

“If you need a safe place, once you enter the doors of this building, you are safe,” said the Rev. Abraham Waya, pastor of Central United Methodist Church, who said his church can shelter as many as 100 people. “We will host you and take care of you for as long as it takes.”

More here-

Clergy and Narcissistic Personality Disorder

From A Living Text-

I have long suspected that the pastorate attracts those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). It offers a position of trust and esteem, where your opinions are sought after and you are adulated for speaking publicly. You are invited into the trust of parishioners, and you are seen as closer to God (even if our theology tells us that this is not the case). It was therefore quite interesting to find a paper on this subject by R. Glenn Ball and Darrell Puls. Puls has a blog here.

In their paper, the authors focus on the Presbyterian Church in Canada, but their conclusions have broader application:

Now extrapolate our findings to the United States. Conservative estimates are that there are roughly 300,000–350,000 churches in the United States. If the percentages hold true, 96,300–112,350 congregations in the United States are pastored by clergy with diagnosable Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

More here-


From The Living Church-

To speak of mission is, in every instance, for the Church to speak of the being of God. The fundamental missions are the begetting of the Son by the Father, and the procession of the Spirit from the Father through the Son. To put this far too briefly, we can distinguish (but not separate) the being of God in himself, the “ontological” Trinity, and the being of God in relation to the created world, the “economic” Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity tells us that God is ever pouring himself out in love. This is first a description of his being. But it also describes his relationship with the world, which he was under no compulsion whatsoever to make.

The mission of the Son is nothing but to receive the love that is bestowed upon him from the Father, and to return that love to the Father in an act of counter-bestowal (and to complete the picture we might say that the kiss bestowed upon this exchange is the Holy Spirit). This dynamic exchange of love is just who God is. But in terms of the economic Trinity, the mission of the Son is the Father sending him into the world to be human: a full, complete, sinless, authentic human being. The Father gave the Son that mission, and the Son freely accepted it, not reckoning his divinity as something to cling to (cf. Phil. 2:6), but emptying himself in complete humility, which is to say complete obedience. The result was his death. He died because, although he was fully human, no one else was: everyone else was a sinner.

More here-

Friday, December 9, 2016

Naval Academy's Mesmerizing Pearl Harbor Tribute Was Inspired by Near Disaster on the Sea

From Independent Journal Review- (Video is very moving)

“Eternal Father, Strong to Save.” The Navy knows it well, and for good reason.

Sung regularly at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, it is considered “the Navy hymn.” It was sung at the funerals of former presidents John F. Kennedy and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

But the hymn itself has a history with the sea — a history that dates back over 150 years.

According to Eric Metaxas at, the story began when the hymn's author, William Whiting, was just a boy:

The hymn’s author was an Anglican churchman named William Whiting, who was born in England in 1825. As a child, Whiting dodged in and out of the waves as they crashed along England’s shoreline.

More here-

The Blood of One Martyr Inspires Another

From National Catholic Register-

On the day of his death, Campion would inspire another martyr, would who in turn inspire a great Catholic composer to lament Campion’s death.

Henry Walpole was 23 years old when he stood near Tyburn Tree. He was a well-educated Englishman and was a loyal member of Her Majesty’s Church of England. After attending Cambridge University (Peterhouse College) he was preparing for a legal career, studying at Grey’s Inn in London. What he witnessed that December day was the excruciating death of a traitor: Campion and the other priests with him (Father Ralph Sherwin and Father Alexander Briant) were first hanged until barely conscious, then eviscerated while still alive, beheaded, and quartered (their bodies divided into four parts). Their heads and quarters would be displayed as warnings to others not to follow their example.

More here-

Canon Jeremy Pemberton loses same-sex marriage tribunal appeal

From The Church Times-

CANON Jeremy Pemberton has lost his appeal against a bishop’s refusal to grant him a licence. Canon Pemberton was refused a licence to take up a post as chaplaincy manager at King’s Mill Hospital in Mansfield because he married his partner, Laurence Cunnington, in April 2014 (News, 24 June, 12 September 2014) .

Last year, an employment tribunal in Nottingham ruled that the then Acting Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham, the Rt Revd Richard Inwood, had acted lawfully in refusing to grant the licence (News, 6 November 2015). On Wednesday, that judgment was upheld by Judge Eady QC at the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

“It was not for the Court to determine issues of doctrine, still less to take issue with the beliefs of the religion,” Judge Eady said. “It was for the [Bishop] to prove the official beliefs or teaching of the religion at the time his decision was taken.”

More here-

Local pastor works to heal the persecuted church

From Wisconsin-

If Global Initiatives Week began with the goal of helping people think differently about the world, then the Persecuted Church event fit the mold perfectly.

As the week wound down to its last event, Liz Arnold stood at the church door pleasantly welcoming several dozen visitors. It had been an exhausting schedule, but for the director of Gundersen’s Global Partners Department, she was living out her calling.

“My passion is connecting people in La Crosse with needy people around the world,” she said.

This became evident as Arnold opened the meeting and told the audience that while “we hold all people in prayer,” this event would focus on the persecuted Christian Church – the world’s most victimized religion. More Christians have been martyred in this century alone than in the previous 19.

More here-

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Discord again rocks Anglican Church

From Zimbabwe-

The Manicaland Bishop, Erick Ruwona yesterday confirmed that Bakare, a former bishop of Manicaland and Harare provinces, is in charge at St Agnes Anglican church.

Angry congregation members have accused Ruwona of arrogance and have labelled him a dictator who has failed the diocese.

This journalist is in possession of a copy of a letter from members of the congregation addressed to Ruwona dated 4 December 2016, in which they state that they are dissatisfied with events taking place at their church.

Someone put up a ‘satanic display’ in Boca Raton

From Southeast Florida-

A “satanic display” of a pentagram with a nearby banner and sign were placed in Sanborn Square in Boca Raton, Florida, overnight and are causing a stir in the surrounding faith community, according to a local church.

Not far from the display are a Biblical nativity scene, a Christmas tree and a menorah. The banner and sign, which appear to have been covered in spray paint overnight, once read “In Satan We Trust” and “Celebrate Winter Solstice,” based on images of the original display circulating online.

The display prompted St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church and the a local interfaith organization to release a statement. They plan to post another banner at the park this morning.

More here-

In Good Faith: Let your light shine (or not)

From Massachusetts-

When you live on Main Street in a quaint New England town, there is great pressure to put up white lights in your windows in the weeks leading up to Christmas. I'm not sure how long this tradition has been going on in Hingham, Massachusetts, but it likely traces back to the 17th century town fathers. You know, the ones who missed the boat to Plymouth and had to settle for Johnny-come-lately-to-the-New-World status. The ones who don't have a famous "rock" to celebrate, as anticlimactic as the real thing may be.

When we first toured the church rectory over seven years ago, my wife noted the abundance of outlets in the rooms facing Main Street. I mean, now that she mentioned it, there were plugs under every single window. What was that about? Were we supposed to put illuminated neon beer signs in all the windows? Our gracious guide just laughed -- it was May after all -- and explained this unique "requirement" of living on Main Street.

More here-

Episcopal Church Leaders Call for Enbridge Line 5 Shutdown

From Northern Michigan-

The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan is calling on Gov. Rick Snyder to shut down oil transport through Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac unless the state can guarantee the controversial pipeline’s safety.

In a resolution Nov. 12 signed by Bishop Rayford J. Ray, the influential diocese, which represents Upper Peninsula, the church said protecting the integrity of creation and sustaining life guarantees the right of every human to safe, clean water. The resolution cited the threat of severe damage and loss from a Line 5 pipeline rupture as reasons for the governor to shut off the flow of oil through the Straits of Mackinac.

More here-

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Theologians & activists tackle spiritual & social crisis of racism in America

From RNS-

Dr. Catherine Meeks, a longtime leader in the struggle for racial justice, brings together a range of powerful voices—theologians, pastors, and activists—to grapple with the spiritual and social crisis of racism in a new collection of essays: Living into God’s Dream: Dismantling Racism in America (Morehouse Publishing). The book is “timely and urgently needed,” says Jim Wallis in the foreword, in the aftermath of the contentious and troubling national election that showed how far we are from being a “postracial” country.

The contributors are “clear about the need for a different conversation on race in the 21st century than the one held in the 20th,” says Dr. Meeks. “Colorblindness” is not the answer. “The rush to racial reconciliation is rooted deeply in the notion of colorblindness, a philosophy highly held in the religious communities of America. It is not, however a notion that is rooted in truly trying to hear what Blacks are saying about their state of affairs when it comes to race,” Dr. Meeks writes. “There will be no racial reconciliation without justice, no justice without racial healing.”

More here-

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


From The Living Church-

If you happened to pray the Morning Office in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer on the first Monday of Advent this year, you encountered one of the richest christological poems in the whole psalter, but you may not have realized it.

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,” begins Psalm 1, “nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”

Early Church figures like St. Hilary of Poitiers and St. Augustine of Hippo tell us that this psalm is speaking about Jesus. He is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked. He is the one who prospers in all he does. This psalm is a great comfort to us as sinners because even though we find ourselves among the wicked, we know that Jesus has stood in the place we were not able to stand and has paid the price for our sins. We can take comfort knowing that, even though we would perish if left to our own devices, we have been claimed by Jesus Christ. His holiness is flowing into us and transforming us by grace into children of light.

More here-

Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music will present options to General Convention on possible prayer book revision

From ENS- (lots of links)

The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (SCLM) plans to present the 2018 General Convention with four options regarding the possible revision of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, said the Rev. Devon Anderson, commission chair.

The options, discussed in detail on the SCLM’s blog, are:

Revision of the prayer book beginning after the 2018 General Convention;
Creation of a book or books of alternative services beginning after the 2018 General Convention, with no accompanying revision of the prayer book;

A postponement of the decision on the prayer book and supplemental resources until the completion of a church-wide conversation on liturgical theology and practice during the 2018-2021 triennium
A step back from liturgical revision and a commitment to exploring the theology of the current prayer book in greater depth.

More here-

How to grow a church: some liberals might not like the answer

From The Globe and Mail-

If you went to Sunday school, you heard the story of Jonah and chances are you remember that he was swallowed by a whale. But what often gets forgotten is the story’s larger theme. Jonah is given a divine message and is instructed to deliver it to a people on the verge of calamity but, for some specific reasons, he’s reluctant.

Minus hearing the voice of God, for the last couple of weeks, I’ve felt a little like Jonah.

The information I’m delivering relates to a study some colleagues and I conducted that explored mainline Protestant churches. Since the 1960s, churches in the Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and United denominations have been steadily losing members and we wanted to determine why.

Through statistical analysis of survey data from a near-even mix of growing and declining church attendees and their clergy, we found that conservative religious doctrine, known for emphasizing a more literal interpretation of scripture, is a key driver for church growth in mainline Protestant congregations. Liberal doctrine, which emphasizes a metaphorical interpretation, leads to decline.

More here-


From Kenya-

In a community where AIDS is still viewed as a death sentence, an Anglican priest is working to build an HIV-aware church.

Rev Rahab Wanjiru, 46, has the credibility to help dispel the dangerous silence that surrounds the virus and combines with stigma, discrimination and denial in Lamuria, a remote region about 193 kilomtres from Nairobi.

That’s because Rev Wanjiru has the virus herself.

“Every time I preach in church or speak to the community, I make sure that I teach something about the HIV/AIDS,” she said. “Most people here are ignorant about the virus, but I tell the congregations that there is much hope, even when one has HIV.”

About 1.6 million Kenyans are living with HIV in a population of about 42 million. About 900,000 are on anti-retroviral drugs, according to the National AIDS Control Council. Despite major progress, HIV/AIDS remains one of Kenya's most significant public health challenges.

More here-

Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles Becomes "Sanctuary Diocese"

From Los Angeles-

Declaring itself a “Sanctuary Diocese” the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles has adopted a comprehensive resolution calling on its congregations and institutions to provide “material and pastoral support for those targeted by hate due to immigration status or some perceived status of difference.”

The Reverend Mike Kinman, Rector of All Saints Church in Pasadena said, “The strong stand for human rights the Sanctuary resolution represents is nothing new for All Saints Church or for the Diocese of Los Angeles. But it is in moments like these — when those rights come under direct attack — that it becomes literally a life or death matter for that stand to be made unequivocally clear. In this season, we remember that God became human as one who was marginalized, targeted, and oppressed. For the Church to stand anywhere else but with those whom God became would be blasphemy and an utter betrayal of the Gospel.”

More here-

Water protectors, supporters rejoice over victory for Native Americans

From ENS-

Episcopal and interfaith chaplains were about to raise a tent in the Oceti Sakowin Camp on Dec. 4 when a message runner approached and called them to join the crowd already gathering around the sacred fire in the camp’s center. They left the tent, poles inserted, on the ground, and they went.

As they joined the hundreds of people around the fire, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II took to the microphone to announce that that federal government said it would not allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under the Missouri River at Lake Oahe, the drinking water source for some 8,000 people living on the Standing Rock Reservation, which covers 2.3 million acres in North and South Dakota.

“It’s significant for all of the people that supported us, standing with us,” said Archambault. “It’s huge. It’s big.”

He called on those present to take the lessons learned from the “Water is Life” movement home with them to heal their families and communities, and to create a better future.

More here-

Monday, December 5, 2016

Zuma blasts churches for meddling

From South Africa-

A bullish President Jacob Zuma yesterday reiterated his call for the church and the clergy to stay away from politics – despite his party regularly having visited churches when campaigning.

Zuma was addressing thousands of Twelve Apostles’ Church in Christ members during their international thanksgiving day celebrations at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban yesterday.

Buoyed by the sermon of Chief Apostle Professor Caesar Nongqunga, who said the president should be forgiven for all his transgressions, Zuma wasted no time in putting the church in its place.

“It is sad to see the church and church leaders getting mired into matters of politics instead of praying for leaders,” Zuma said.

“I urge the church to pray for us as leaders, pray for our people to stop the hatred. I urge you to assist us to build a stable nation built on love.”

Leaders of the SA Council of Churches have been unequivocal in their call for Zuma to step down, being vocal advocates of the Save SA campaign.

More here-

The War on Christmas: Notes from a conscientious objector: the Rev. Robert Winter (Opinion)

From Cleveland-

"Yes, Virginia, there is a 'War on Christmas'."

The battle is over controlling the narrative. And Christians are too often fighting on the wrong side.

The problem is manifestly not that we have "secularized" the birth of Christ. That's a complete red-and-green herring. Jesus himself already did that--his birth celebrates the invasion of human life in all its messy, secular (that is, temporal) splendor by the eternal power and love of God. That, and not cards, carols and candy canes, is the central meaning of Christmas. "Secularize" it? Impossible. God has already secularized it for us.

More here-

Army halts Dakota Access oil pipeline and says new routes will be explored

From The LA Times-

The Army Corps of Engineers on Sunday denied permission for the Dakota Access pipeline to cross under a section of the Missouri River, handing at least a temporary victory to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its supporters.

The decision came after months of protests by thousands of self-proclaimed “water protectors” — bolstered by the arrival of more than 2,000 U.S. military veterans — who have opposed the pipeline out of concern that it could rupture and contaminate the river, which they say provides drinking water to the tribe and 17 million other Americans.

The pipeline is being built by Energy Transfer Partners, whose chief executive, Kelcy Warren, has said the company would not be willing to explore alternative routes.

More here-

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Non-denominational Evangelical minister, Episcopal priest: One man leads two congregations in historic Catonsville church

From Baltimore-

It's 8 a.m. Sunday at St. Hilda's in Catonsville, and the priest in the pulpit wears a white robe and green chasuble to celebrate the Episcopal Mass — a formal liturgy with roots that date to the 16th century.

Two hours later, he has exchanged the alb and chasuble for a black Joe Flacco jersey to lead an evangelical service — his language now part Billy Graham, part Rodney Dangerfield.

"For the last seven weeks I've talked to you about sex," the Rev. Jason Poling says. "Today I'll address a completely separate issue: marriage."

Poling, 43, founded the evangelical New Hope Community Church in Pikesville 13 years ago. This year, at the invitation of Maryland Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton, he launched St. Hilda's, a new Episcopal congregation in Catonsville.

More here-

Rancho Santa Margarita Episcopalian elected bishop of Los Angeles diocese

From Los Angeles-

A Rancho Santa Margarita Episcopalian priest and the former director of the Nixon Library Foundation was named bishop of the six-county Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, church officials announced Saturday.

Receiving 122 clergy and 194 lay votes at the Ontario Convention Center, Saturday, the Rev. John H. Taylor, 62, was elected bishop of the area that represents about 136 neighborhood congregations and 40 schools across six counties, including Orange.

Taylor serves as vicar for St. John Chrysostom Episcopal Church and school in Rancho Santa Margarita.

“I look forward with joy to serving alongside my fellow ministers – laypeople, deacons, priests and bishops – as we continue to proclaim the gospel in word and deed,” he said.

Ordained as a priest in 2004, Taylor also served in the Church of St. Andrew the Apostle in Fullerton and has written two novels. Taylor is married to Kathleen Hannigan O’Connor and has four adult children.

More here-